A large and spirited crowd gathered Monday at 11 a.m. for Abilene Christian University’s annual Veterans Day Tribute. Patriotic and reflective music by the Big Purple Band and a video presentation profiling a World War II pilot with ACU roots were the highlights of the event, which including the traditional unfurling of the university’s large U.S. flag from the rafters of Moody Coliseum.
Dr. Steven Ward (’92), professor of music and director of bands and orchestra, and Jason Missel, associate director of bands, conducted the Big Purple in Ceremony of Allegiance; Duty, Honor, Country; Our Armed Forces; and March Grandioso, along with the campus debut of National Pride March – the latter a rousing piece written by Bob Bailey (’52).
Dr. Stuart Platt, associate professor of criminal justice and a retired Army colonel, led the invocation. Narrators were Dr. Rick Piersall (’90), associate professor of music; Donna (Vickers ’89 M.A.) Hester, adjunct instructor of theatre; and Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon (’76), Department of Journalism and Mass Communication professor and chair.
Clyde Morgan Sr., M.D. (’48), a longtime local physician, was featured in a video presentation. The South Texas native served as an Army Air Corps lieutenant during World War II whose most memorable assignment was being the personal pilot to King Ibn Saud of Saudia Arabia. That behind-the-scenes work for the American embassy helped maintain a strategic relationship with Saud, whose friendship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt – and oil supplies– were crucial to the U.S. wartime effort.
Morgan wrote about his adventures with the 2766th Provisional Headquarters Flight team in Cairo, Egypt, in a 2010 book.